Tuesday, March 22, 2005

CNN.com - Jury?deliberates?deadly human smuggling case - Mar 21, 2005

I think people who prey upon the desperation of others and yet do not even fulfill the minimum criteria of a simple duty of care to ensure their safety ought to be punished to the full majesty of the law (I don't condone capital punishment so I guess that would have to be consecutive life sentences).

But I think, that there's alot to be said for a less restrictive system/regime of immigration coupled with major developmental projects to help those nations suffering structural economic problems such that their citizens are not driven to risk their health, lives and safety simply for the right to earn a decent living. As long as the economic pressures exist and hope exists elsewhere, barring a perfect form of enforcement and detriment, there will be people willing to undertake tremendously dangerous journeys whether across the desert (from Mexico to US) or the sea (to Australia and USA: Europe's land linked which makes the journey much easier)

I think President Bush made a very good point and a step in the right direction when he advocated a form of temporary work permits to allow illegal workers to work legally and to travel back and forth from their country of origin. Similarly, guess worker permits are a serious consideration of John Howard's government. It's worth noting that if one contrast's Pueto Rico and Mexico (both basically poorer nations), the former has unlimited right of entry and work whereas Mexico comes under much more stringent rules. Yet the problem of overstayers and illegal immigrants is practically non-existant for the Pueto Ricans. Part of it is of course one of definition (they don't need to sneak over the border) but the other is that the stakes of leaving the USA is not as high. Illegal migrants from Mexico don't dare go back because they won't know if they'll be able to get back.

Most emphirical studies have shown that immigration leads to a net benefit to the host nation. However, it must be admitted that unless the migrant has a high school education or above, the likely result would be a small net loss. Of course, this discounts the fact that for many in these developed nations (or even in Singapore and particularly in Japan and Saudi Arabia), we don't have to do DDD (Dirty, Dangerous, Difficult) jobs. These migrants often do. Malaysia is feeling the pinch now that a estimated 600,000 illegal workers have left.

But for the type of immigrants that we 'want', this of course leads to accusations that we favour foreign talent over local ones etc. But more importantly, this does lead to a major brain drain that that be very detrimental to the country of origin. Certain nations have a shortage of health care workers because they have been lured to countries like Britain with much higher wages. Other professionals do so similar. And while the expartiated money is always a nice boost to the economy, the loss of skills can lead to unquantifiable losses. Granted that some of these professionals do go back and bring back the skills they learned in their host nation (see Jamaica)

At any rate, I think we're muddling our way to a equilibrium and things will probably get better but let us help it along ya?



In other news, maybe it's time for us liberals to stop playing nice. If conservatives of any stripe refuse to play nice with us and want to asser their views over others. Why don't we do the same to them as well?

Intolerance towards Intolerance I say!


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